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Asylum Seekers and Refugees

An asylum seeker is any person not holding a British passport who has asked for asylum in this country and is awaiting a decision on their claim.

On entry to Britain, asylum seekers have accommodation provided for them by owners under contract to the Home Office. The owner of the accommodation occupied by asylum seekers will be liable for the Council Tax (section 8 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).

If an asylum seeker moves from the accommodation provided and the alternative accommodation is not provided under the Act as above, then the asylum seeker may become liable for Council Tax on the new property, dependent upon the terms of the letting.

Foreign nationals, including asylum seekers and refugees, are not exempt from Council Tax. However, if foreign nationals and their spouses are qualifying full time students, they will be disregarded or exempt for the duration of their course.

An asylum seeker becomes a refugee when the Home Office has accepted their claim for asylum. Once this has occurred, the refugee is entitled to claim benefits and Local Authority housing.